Chemistry and the Flint Water Crisis


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Virginia Tech researchers helped prove that lead levels were dangerously high in Flint’s tap water, even when government officials denied the problem. We visited the researchers to see how they’re using standard analytical chemistry to try and make water safer.

Want to learn more about the story of lead in water in Flint and around the U.S.? Start with these resources.

How Lead Ended Up In Flint’s Tap Water | C&EN

Flint Water Study Updates

Lead Levels in Water Misrepresented Across U.S.| Washington Post (2004)

Flint Weighs Scope of Harm to Children Caused by Lead | New York Times

Lead taints drinking water in hundreds of schools, day cares across USA | USA Today

Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan

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Music: Deadlines- BHZimmy
Producer/Editor: Noel Waghorn
Writer: Matt Davenport, Ph.D.
Videographer: Sean Parsons
Executive Producer: Noel Waghorn
Scientific consultants: Jeff Parks, Ph.D.

Posted in Recent Episodes

Can You Make Beer with Helium?

Check out the full story and beer recipe here: cenm.ag/heliumbeer
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Speaking of Chemistry joins daredevil homebrewers Craig Bettenhausen and Kevin Wepasnick as they put gas solubility to the test using chemistry and beer. Find out why helium beer may or may not be coming to a tap near you.

Oh, and be sure to check out the full version of Berkshire Brewing’s helium beer video from our intro here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87Z_h2a7Nhg

If this episode leaves you wanting more, check out these great resources.

Helium Price Spikes Are Hurting Academic Labs, Researchers Tell Congress | C&EN

As Helium Prices Rise, Universities Consider Recycling The Element | C&EN

The Hard Truth About Helium Beer | Craft Brewer

Helium Beer | Snopes

On Iceland’s dung-smoked whale testicle beer | Draft Magazine

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And feel free to drop us a line at speakingofchem@acs.org

Speaking of Chemistry is brought to you by Chemical & Engineering News, the news magazine of the American Chemical Society.

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The Four “New” Elements & How We Got Them


The periodic table just got four new elements, but this isn’t as groundbreaking as recent headlines would have you believe. Join Speaking of Chemistry’s resident killjoy to find out why.

Seriously, though, this is some really cool chemistry. We want to thank C&EN’s elemental expert Jyllian Kemsley and chemist/chemical linguist Shawn Burdette of Worcester Polytechnic Institute for their help with this episode.

If you want more Speaking of Chemistry, like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpeakingOfChem

And if you want to learn more about these elements, check out these great resources:

Seventh Row Of The Periodic Table Is Now Complete With Addition Of Four Elements | C&EN

The Periodic Table’s Four New Elements | Compound Interest

Naming Superheavy Halogen and Noble Elements | Chemistry International

These Four Feminist Periodic Table Element Names Should Definitely Be Considered For The Four Newbies | Bustle

Make Way for Moscovium? | Joint Institute for Nuclear Research

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Posted in Recent Episodes

What’s Your New Year’s #ChemResolution?


The Speaking of Chemistry team has made some resolutions for 2016. Watch the video to find out what you can expect from us in the coming year, then share your #ChemResolution with us in the comments.

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Or drop us a line at speakingofchem@acs.org

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Speaking of Chemistry is brought to you by Chemical & Engineering News, the news magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Posted in Recent Episodes

The Chemistry of Truffles, the Most Expensive Food in the World


Although you probably haven’t dropped a cool $60 grand for a truffle, you may have wondered why some people are willing to do so. In this episode, Sarah Everts shows how chemistry fuels the fuss over the fungus…and reveals the shady side of truffle oil.

If this episode leaves you wanting more, check out these great resources.

What Makes Truffles So Enticing?

Truffles: The Most Expensive Food In the World | CBS News

The Dark Side of the Truffle Trade | The Atlantic

Want even more Speaking of Chemistry?
Like us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpeakingOfChem
Or drop us a line at speakingofchem@acs.org

Speaking of Chemistry is brought to you by Chemical & Engineering News, the news magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Posted in Recent Episodes

Do You Really Need A Flu Shot Every Year?


Check out the article that inspired this episode: http://cen.acs.org/articles/93/i34/To…

Flu season is approaching, which means flu shot season is already here. But why do we need to get a flu shot every year, and why don’t they always work? In this Speaking of Chemistry, Sophia answers those questions and talks about the development of a universal flu shot that would work even better.

Want more Speaking of Chemistry?
Like us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpeakingOfChem
Or drop us a line at speakingofchem@acs.org

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For more info, check out these sick references:

A Stable Influenza Hemagglutinin Stem as a Broadly Protective Immunogen | Science Magazine

Hemagglutinin-stem nanoparticles generate influenza protection| Nature Medicine

Types of Influenza Viruses | Centers for Disease Control

Scientists Take Huge Step Toward Universal Flu Vaccine | Huffington Post

And special thanks to Dr. Jeff Teigler for the bouncer analogy.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Posted in Recent Episodes

Giving Thanks For Chemistry — A Speaking of Chemistry Thanksgiving Special


Celebrate Thanksgiving with ACS Chemoji for FREE, now availbable for your iPhone or Android device: http://swyftmedia.com/apps/app.php?app=chemoji

Every Thanksgiving, we stop to reflect on the things in our lives that we are grateful for. This year, we’re giving it up for chemistry. We share some of our favorite chemical morsels in this episode and want to hear yours. Drop them in the comments below for a chance to win some bodacious Chemoji swag.

If this episode leaves you wanting more video goodness, read the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Want to stuff your face with more chemistry goodness? Check out these resources:

Thanksgiving Dinner Chemistry & Seasoned Ammunition

From Sugarcane to Jet Fuel

Smart Phones, Smart Chemistry from ChemMatters

Top Pharmaceuticals: A Look at Drugs That Changed Our World

The Elements of a Smartphone from Compound Interest

Rethinking Our Risky Reliance on Rare Earth Metals from TIME

Speaking of Chemistry is brought to you by Chemical & Engineering News, the news magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Posted in Recent Episodes

The Surprising Chemistry of Mummies, Ghosts, and Vampires – Spooking of Chemistry


Happy Halloween! It’s time to collect some serious sweets and impress your friends with an awesome costume. In this week’s spooky Speaking of Chemistry, Judy fills you in on the surprising science behind ghosts, vampires, and mummies. That’s a wrap!

If this episode leaves you wanting more video goodness, read the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Sources:

Bodily Bookbinding, Chemistry For Mummies

Mummy Preservation, When Frankenstein Came To Life

Halloween Treats

Carving Nanopumpkins

More On The Mütter’s Soap Lady

Posted in Recent Episodes

What is the Gut Microbiome?


Right now, your microbiome–the trillions of bacteria and other tiny organisms living in and on your body–is hard at work making molecules that may be influencing your health and behavior. In this episode of Speaking of Chemistry, Harvard biochemist Emily Balskus helps us explain how researchers are just starting to unravel the chemical connection between us and our companion microbes.

If this episode leaves you wanting more video goodness, read the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Sources:

The Balskus Lab at Harvard

C&EN’s Talented 12 Profile of Emily Balskus

Harnessing the Hordes in the Microbiome

Mining the Microbiome for Therapeutics

Unraveling the Microbiome

C&EN’s Talented 12 Class of 2015

Posted in Recent Episodes

How to Avoid Kidney Stones


Kidney stones can be excruciatingly painful, and half a million people in the U.S. end up in the emergency room because of them. In this episode of Speaking of Chemistry, guest host Linda Wang explores how kidney stones form and shares some of the most recent research in this area. She even offers tips on how to prevent them.

If this episode leaves you wanting more video goodness, read the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Sources:
Zinc May Help Drive Kidney Stone Formation
Issue Date: June 8, 2015

Posted in Recent Episodes

Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable?


People who want that fresh feeling after wiping their behinds have increasingly been relying on flushable wipes. But sewer managers and homeowners have been crying foul—literally–as more and more pipes get clogged. Are flushable wipes to blame?

If this episode leaves you wanting more video goodness, read the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Sources:

Wet Wipes Clog Sewer Systems
Issue Date: May 11, 2015

Wet Wipe Maker Agrees To Substantiate Flushable Claims
Issue Date: May 25, 2015

The Dirty Little Secrets Of Toilet Paper
Published: Aug. 27, 2015

U.K.’s Biggest “Fatberg” Discovered In London Sewer
Published: July 30, 2013

Posted in Recent Episodes

Stop and Smell the Volatile Organic Compounds


Is there anything better than a bouquet of fresh flowers? Well, as it turns out, you’re not the only one who likes the smell of posies — some flowers use their aroma to attract pollinators. Find out how airborne volatile organic compounds give petunias, roses and the notoriously stinky “corpse flower” their characteristic aromas in the latest Speaking of Chemistry.

If this episode leaves you wanting more video goodness, read the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Sources:

Roses Produce Their Sweet Scent Through An Unexpected Route
Volume 93 Issue 27 | p. 6
Issue Date: July 6, 2015

Love Stinks, A Helping Hand
Volume 88 Issue 47 | p. 48
Issue Date: November 22, 2010

Love Potion
Volume 86 Issue 22 | p. 15
Issue Date: June 2, 2008

Researchers discover how petunias know when to smell good
UW Today
June 29, 2015

Posted in Recent Episodes

Are Strawberries Going Away?


Strawberries are sweet, juicy, and delightful. Unfortunately, they’re also attractive bait for a litany of pests and diseases. In 2016, an expiring federal pesticide exemption could mean the end of strawberries as we know them. In this Speaking of Chemistry video, Sophia Cai explains the problem and some possible solutions.

If this episode leaves you wanting more video goodness, read the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Sources:

Strawberries In Peril Because Of Fumigant Phaseout
Volume 93 Issue 23 | pp. 18-19
Issue Date: June 8, 2015

Alternatives to Methyl Bromide: A Florida Perspective
APS 2005, DOI: 10.1094/APSnetFeature/2005-0605

A Pest Management Strategic Plan for Strawberry Production in California
The California Strawberry Commission (CSC) & The California Minor Crops Council (CMCC)

University of California Plant Breeding Center

Tomato Diseases On The Rise In Absence Of Methyl Bromide
Posted By: Paul Rusnak, Growing Produce | February 1, 2014

Soil Fumigants Website
Chloropicrin Manufacturers’ Task Force, Methyl Bromide Industry Panel, and Metam Task Force

Posted in Recent Episodes

Are Wine Baths a Waste of Money?


Red wine is full of antioxidants and some people have spent serious cash trying to harness the health benefits of these compounds by soaking in tubs full of vino. In Episode 23 of Speaking of Chemistry, Matt Davenport dips into wine science to find out if this unorthodox spa treatment is as wildly indulgent, and effective, as it sounds.

If this episode leaves you wanting more video goodness, read the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Sources:

Gavin Sacks is a chemist in the Enology and Viticulture Program at Cornell University: https://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/…

Andrew Waterhouse is a professor of enology at UC Davis: http://waterhouse.ucdavis.edu/

Randy Schueller is a cosmetic chemist and cofounder of The Beauty Brains website: http://thebeautybrains.com/

Brenda Baker, of Baker Wine & Grape Analysis, is a chemist holding a certification from the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau: http://www.bwga.net/

Wine Baths, Beer Flow Reversal
Volume 93 Issue 15 | p. 48
Issue Date: April 13, 2015

A Taste Of Wine Science
Volume 92 Issue 38 | pp. 28-30
Issue Date: September 22, 2014

Vintage Chemistry
Volume 84 Issue 18 | pp. 30-32 | Meetings
Issue Date: May 1, 2006

Posted in Recent Episodes

Why You Itch (and Why You Shouldn’t Scratch)


If you’ve ever had a bug bite, or brushed against some poison ivy, you know the agony of an itch and the overwhelming desire to scratch. But why might you want to think twice about scratching? In this week’s Speaking of Chemistry, Lauren Wolf gives you the answer, with a little help from Batman & Robin.

If this episode leaves you wanting more video goodness, read the sources below.

Speaking of Chemistry is a production of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Contact us at speakingofchem@acs.org!

Subscribe to C&EN’s YouTube channel!

Sources:

Itching To Know More About Itch
Volume 89 Issue 27 | p. 27
Issue Date: July 4, 2011

How Itching An Itch Makes It Itch Worse
Volume 92 Issue 46 | p. 34
Issue Date: November 17, 2014
http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i46/It…

Posted in Recent Episodes
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